Tuesday, June 17, 2008

5430 Sprint Triathlon

Maybe I should race the Gila (and put in the necessary base miles prior) every spring. With the early season fitness I've gained, it has helped me both as a cyclist and it's improved my fitness off the bike in my triathlon endeavors.

After finishing mid-pack in the Gila GC- I would've finished higher but for a flat tire in the time trial which cost me 18 minutes- I've had some success on the bike, and that fitness has carried over to my triathlon racing. Because of a chronic injury, I'd only run 45 miles in 2008 prior to the Bolder Boulder. I surprised myself on Memorial Day with a 41:42 finishing time. A week later I raced the Longmont Sprint Triathlon and finished 12th overall and 3rd age group. (Technically I was tied for 11th overall and 2nd age group with the same time.) Then came the CO State TT Champs and in spite of a nagging cold, finished 12th in the 35+/cat 4 group. The next day was the Mike Horgan HC, and I crossed the line right behind Blue Sky's Charles Musgrave in 19th place. Last Sunday, in a highly competitive 5430 Sprint Triathlon at the Boulder reservoir, I was ecstatic with my 15 of 106 age group and 68 of 1054 finish. Which leads me to this race report.

I was pretty jazzed for the start of the race, even though the water temp in the Boulder Rez was a chilly 68 degrees. I was in the 3rd wave, starting at 7:40AM. All but one fool in our wave had a wetsuit, and a lot of guys even had neoprene caps on. When I last did this race in 2006, I swam a 15:33, and I was pretty confident I could better this. I'm about 5 lbs lighter this year, as I was able to fit more easily into my neoprene. A non-eventful swim (no goggle fogging, kicks or punches, etcetera) led to a minute plus improvement, and I finished in 13:44. 183rd on the swim. Okay, so I'm still a lousy swimmer.

After 12 years of doing triathlons and duathlons, I finally made the investment to a tri-specific cycling shoe. These shoes typically have one velcro strap, a smaller tongue, and a loop in back which all allow the racer to get into and out of the shoe quicker. This was the first time using these shoes, and they certainly made a difference. I shaved about a minute off my T1 time.

The bike leg was 17.3 miles on a very fast course. After motoring up that little rise coming out of the Rez, I settled into race mode and started passing the folks in the earlier waves. On Jay road, my buddy Craig, a decent cat 3 road racer, zoomed past me. I kept him in my sights, staying about 20- 50 meters back. But I also noticed some yahoo get right on his wheel and start drafting. Drafting is illegal in amateur triathlon and duathlon racing, and you can get time penalties for infractions such as drafting. Go figure there was not a moto ref in sight the entire time I was on the bike. (After the race I had the nerve to go up to the guy and call him a "cheat", and Craig told me he told the guy a number of times to get off his wheel. The most blatant cheating I've ever seen in the 42 triathlons and duathlons I've raced.) The other minor drama I got caught up in was a crash that happened around mile 10 about 30 meters in front of me. Two guys- the only two guys who passed me on the bike- zoomed past me around mile 8 or 9. I was going along at about 27 mph, so these guys were flying. The one guy was in my age group, the other a 40- 45 year-old racer. On 63rd Street, the guy in my age group cut the other guy off, clipped his front wheel, and the older guy went skidding across the pavement. I swerved around him across the double yellow, and then the fool who caused the crash stopped and almost turned into me. Crashes are very uncommon in triathlons, but anything can happen when someone is careless and/or reckless. After the race, I talked to the guy who went down and he had road rash up and down his left side and may have broken his shoulder underneath the ice pack he was holding. By coincidence the yahoo who cut him off had his bike racked next to me; the guy was a better athlete than me as he finished ahead of me in the final result- he must've run faster. I finished the bike about 20 seconds slower than in 2006 for a 23.5 mph average.

I again zipped through transition, taking about 30 seconds off my 2006 T2 time, and it was off on the run. There was a steady breeze coming out of the east as we ran along the dam road. Back in the day before my chronic heel pain, the run was my strength, even allowing me to finish in the top 3 of my age group in a number of smaller races. I was still able to pick off a few of my fellow age groupers, and only a couple guys passed me on the run. I didn't think I'd match the pace I ran in the Longmont Sprint, thinking I'd run 7:00 min/mi. After having a nice tail breeze on the way back in from mile 2 into the finish, I picked up the pace for the remaining 1.1 miles and finished running a 21:16 for a 6:52 min/mi pace off the bike. I came across the line strong and saw and heard Katie, Kenna, and the other Boulder Triathlon Club teammates cheering on the final straightaway. (If only I had a Blue Sky triathlon skinsuit.) I finished in 1:21:04, an improvement of 3 minutes over my 2006 time. Afterwards we hung out with James and the Blue Sky tri babes under the DRS/Blue Sky tent that James had set up. There was a nice race expo, with Avery Brewing Company as one of the race sponsors. Why don't cycling promoters have expos with free beer?? Those White Rascals from Avery Brewing sure tasted good afterwards.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great Job Jason! You'll have to fill me in on your recovery secrets. That's a lot of consistent strong racing.